Over iced tea and ice water at the Starbucks in Chandler, LD 17 Democratic House Candidate Jennifer Pawlik and LD 17 Democratic Senate Candidate Steve Weichert enthusiastically discussed their united vision for taking care of children in poverty, who have been largely forgotten by the current Republican LD state representatives and senator.
The LD 17 District in Arizona contains parts of Gilbert, Chandler, and Sun Lakes. No Democrat has ever claimed victory in this district. Two Republicans in the State House currently represent it. This includes the current House Speaker J.D. Mesnard who has decided to run against Weichert for the State Senate Seat being vacated by State Senate President Steven Yarbrough. Pawlik is the only Democrat running for a seat in the State House.
Pawlik and Weichert are not newcomers to the political arena in Legislative District 17. They ran for the same state legislative seats in 2016 that they are running for today. While the results did not turn out as they hoped in 2016, they feel that three trends will propel them to victory in 2018:
- The marked increase in voter enthusiasm, ignited by the election of Donald Trump.
- The insensitivity of the Ducey Governorship and his allies in the state legislature.
- The spark of the Red for Ed Movement.
Like neighboring LD 18, the Democratic candidates and District Chair Jacob Schmitt see their electoral prospects improving with an increasingly bluer (or purple) population receptive to the centrist problem solving progressive ideas and vision that they offer. Both Pawlik and Weichert have united as a team, tailoring their message to all the people in LD 17, especially those ignored and forgotten by the current Republican leadership in the district who has fallen under the influence of anti-democratic, tax cutting, special and Dark Money interests.